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Application of the numerical snowpack model (SNOWPACK) to the wet-snow region in Japan

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The snow-cover model SNOWPACK was applied to the wet-snow areas of Japan. Simulated variations of snow type, snow depth and weight, profiles of snow density, temperature and liquid-water content were compared with snow-pit measurements. The snow-depth simulation during early winter agreed with the measurements, but the differences between the simulation and the measurements increased during the course of the melt season. These differences were caused by underestimation of the energy balance at the snow surface, mainly that regarding sensible-heat flux during the melt season. The underestimation was caused by the implicit numerical treatment of the heat-transport equation. Consistent with the underestimation of snowmelt, simulated metamorphosis of compacted particles into melt forms was slower than the change shown by the measurements, and faceted snow particles, which constitute a snow type not actually found in the study area, sometimes appeared in the model. The inaccurate melt treatment also influenced simulated densities, which were larger than the measurements at small densities, while they were smaller than the measurements at large densities. Greater accuracy was achieved when an empirical compressive viscosity formulation for wet snows inJapan was introduced. A new version of SNOWPACK, with an accurate treatment of melt processes, is available.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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